MORE UK-based brands were looking to set up shop in Cambodia, Britain’s ambassador to Cambodia, Mark Gooding, said yesterday.
Gooding said at Costa Coffee’s official opening in Phnom Penh he was pleased by the arrival of the international chain, the largest coffee brand in the UK, and the British embassy was comm-itted to strengthening trade and investment ties between the UK and Cambodia.
“More and more UK businesses such as Costa Coffee are entering the Cambodian market,” the ambassador said.
In addition to the recent opening of the Costa outlet, numerous British companies have already set up in Cambodia, including Prudential, Marks & Spencer, Arup and Jardine Matheson.
Trade has been growing rapidly between the two countries, and investment by British firms has been on an upward curve.
According to figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), British companies invested $2.4 billion in Cambodia between 1995 and 2011.
Last year alone, the figure reached $24.6 million.
Statistics from the British embassy show that total bilateral trade in goods between the UK and Cambodia grew 27 per cent in 2012 to around $750 million.
Cambodia’s imports from the UK last year stood at about $17 million.
Pan Sorasak, the Commerce Ministry’s secretary of state, said Cambodia’s main exports to the UK included garments, textiles and rice, while British exports to the Kingdom included luxury cars, electronics and machinery.
“There has been an increase of foreign direct investment in Cambodia recently, which is a significant recognition of Cambodia’s economic development,” Sorasak said.
Paul Smith, the managing director of Costa Coffee Asia, said he had enjoyed watching Phnom Penh transform over the past few decades.
“We live in an exciting time to witness the growth of the Cambodian economy and the transition to a modern, prosperous city,” Smith said.
“As we mark the grand opening of our first store in Phnom Penh today, we also look forward to opening three additional stores by the end of the year.”
In the second half of February this year, UK Trade and Investment, a British government body that works with businesses to ensure their success in international markets, opened its office at the British embassy in Phnom Penh.
Gooding said British investment in Cambodia was moving beyond the garment and textile sectors. At least eight British or British-affiliated companies were working on the Vattanac skyscraper in Phnom Penh, he said.
“[In addition to the existing businesses], British compan-ies will look at education, construction and financial-services investments in the future,” Gooding said.